While music anime is often dominated by female characters, there are also some fantastic series with male protagonists. This article highlights eight of the best music anime with male leads, showcasing the diverse talents and struggles of male musicians in the anime world.
From rock stars to classical composers, these anime offer a unique perspective on the music industry and the challenges of pursuing a musical passion. Whether you’re a fan of rock, classical, or pop, there’s sure to be a music anime with a male lead that will resonate with you.
KAWAGOE BOYS SING
This coming-of-age school comedy anime revolves around the Kawagoe School Boys Choir Club and their instructor, Haruo Hibiki, a former orchestra conductor. The club members have clashing personalities, but under Haruo’s guidance, they grow and bond through singing. Their goal is to compete in the nationals of the Boys Choir contest.
- Premiere: Not specified.
- Studio: Animated by evg, in cooperation with Telecom Animation Film.
- Characters: The story includes Tenshi, a former choirboy who loves singing but struggles with stage fright, and other members who join the choir reluctantly.
- Plot Highlights: The characters, like Tenshi, Ei-chan, and Shiratori, get pulled into the choir by Haruo and find themselves performing in front of an audience, which marks a significant change in their quiet academic life.
This series follows six middle-aged men who have seen both success and failure in their lives. In a unique twist, they decide to form an idol group, confronting challenges like age and physical condition.
- Premiere: Aired from October 2022 to March 2023 on Fuji TV.
- Studio: Animated by Liden Films.
- Duration: 24 episodes, each 13 minutes long.
- Unique Aspect: The central theme is about men around 40 years old, a departure from the typical young idol group narrative in anime.
The story centers on Akira Kiyose, a singer on a video streaming site known as “KIKUNOYU.” He gets scouted by the talent agency sMiLea Production, founded by the retired legendary idol pair AneLa. Akira forms an idol group with other scouted members, Banri Naoe and Chihiro Isuzugawa.
- Premiere: Ran from January 2023 to April 2023; a second season has been announced.
- Studio: Produced by CloverWorks.
- Theme: Emphasizes themes like Slice of Life, Idols (Male), and Music, with a 24-minute duration per episode.
Mafuyu Satou, a seemingly innocuous boy, is holding a shattered guitar. The broken Gibson ES-330 he’s clutching to his life holds all of his past memories, from the presence of the other people it’s been used by, and the strings that show the connections and then the eventual disconnect with the events that have scarred his life to bits, not letting go of the past, and certainly not moving forward towards a brighter future.
He goes about his daily routine with his 9-month-old Pomeranian dog, Kedama, petting her before leaving the house and nothing more. That is, until he meets the one who will completely transform his life.
It’s about a middle school student named Koyuki who, through music and the creation of Beck, finally connects with the world around him.
The slow development of Koyuki and the band, as well as the relationships between everyone, was incredibly enjoyable… That part of the story impressed me greatly. It’s simply that you have to be willing to suspend disbelief a little and accept the strangeness of the entire Lucille subplot (particularly in the second half).
The art? It was fascinating to look at. It had a very appealing quality to it. I liked how everything was a little dirty and muted in appearance to match the tone of the underground music scene. Also, I thought the colour scheme they chose went well with the tone and vibe of the major characters and the plot.
Chiaki, Nodame, and a cast of musically talented characters attend Japan’s finest music university in Nodame Cantabile. Throughout their studies, they face a variety of difficulties as their passionate love for the art gets stronger, and through each other, they learn to appreciate music and performance in a new way, as well as discover genuine romance and what they want out of life.
The story is told in such a mature, hard-hitting, and all-too-human manner. Nodame Cantabile is a romantic, musically-focused plot about passion in and outside of a relationship that appeals to instrumentalists, romantics, and music lovers, as well as sceptics, drama, and anyone who has ever experienced a passion.
It’s a sympathetic series with realistic people, smart dialogue, and worldly themes of uncertainty, hardship, and infatuation that’s as entertaining and humorous as it is tragic and honest. It’s well-organized, well written, and well-developed.
This series provides an extremely enjoyable ride. It’s a straightforward plot that’s easy to follow and entertaining to see. The series’ composition is great in that I always feel fulfilled after watching because each episode usually involves drama while also including humorous moments. Even when you’re emotionally affected by story developments, it never gets too heavy.
Yuuta Hoshitani enrols in Ayanagi Academy in the hopes of finding the high school student who inspired him. Although the academy is regarded for generating extraordinary musical talent, students must first compete for admission to the Musical Department. The Kao Council, a group of third-year students who have a lot of power over the school and entrance into the department, is at the top of the department. For Hoshitani, the quickest way into the department is to join a Star Team, which would allow him to be instructed by a member of the Kao Council.
Visual Prison is my most eagerly anticipated Fall 2021 title. It’s all about battles between musical Visual Kei bands and ikemen vampires (Visual Kei is a muscial rock-punk-gothic genre really easy to the eyes). I’m not going to lie, there is a lot of fanservice, but I was really enjoying this visually and musically fantastic title.
I felt like I was transported back to my adolescent years, going gaga about Vkei bands and looks. This is not a BL, and there are no obvious gay interactions, but the vague and bromance vibe added to the series’ appeal and delight for me.
Kids on the Slope
Sakamichi no Apollon (also known as Kids on the Slope) is a story set in the early summer of 1966. Kaoru Nishimi, the protagonist, is an honour student who prefers to stay to himself. He has a reserved personality that makes it difficult for him to open up. That is, until he meets Sentaro Kawabuchi, a delinquent boy who would become his best buddy.
Despite a rocky start, these two quickly form an amazing friendship based on respect, forgiveness, and, of course, music. Ritsuko Mukae, a nice girl who plays various parts in the plot spanning from music, friendship, and later love, enters the picture later. Three buddies share vivid experiences of the 1960s during the jazz era in this series.
Forest of Piano
A lovely story about two youngsters from very different backgrounds. On the one hand, you have Kai, the son of a prostitute who has spent his life playing the abandoned piano in the forest near his house. On the other hand, you have Syuhei, who was literally breastfed by the piano as the son of a famous piano family. Yet it is their shared love of the piano that eventually binds their lives together.
ARGONAVIS from BanG Dream!
Ren Nanahoshi has been on a quest to recreate a childhood thrill he had at a live music festival. As a first-year university student, he avoids making friends and practises singing alone in the hopes of rediscovering his adrenaline. Nanahoshi meets Yuuto Goryou and Wataru Matoba, both of whom are impressed by his singing, after a chance encounter at a karaoke bar. They’ve been looking for band members and want Nanahoshi to be their lead singer.
After seeing their live event and performing with them, Nanahoshi relents to their continuous pestering. The five boys form “Argonavis” with the easygoing Rio Kikyou and the impassioned Banri Shiroishi, and set their eyes on headlining the Destiny Rock Festival. As they begin to work together as a band, they face the challenges that come with aspiring to greatness.